Working practices have dramatically changed during the pandemic; employees have benefitted from flexible working arrangements in many cases because of government advice to work from home. Whilst flexible working has been a popular topic for discussion over recent decades, employers have now been forced to accept flexible working arrangements for the majority of their employees. But will this continue?
Traditionally, flexible working arrangements have required a formal request and often a justifiable reason, such as childcare or caring responsibilities. Should employees have to justify their request for flexible working in the future? Clearly a balance needs to be struck between the needs of the employer and employee. The future of flexible working should not require a rigid procedure for approval but equally not allow an employee complete autonomy.
Flexible working arrangements should be embraced by employers and employees. The benefits, such as time and money saved by not commuting and improvements to mental health and wellbeing will lead to a happier and more productive workforce. Adopting a flexible working policy for employees will encourage a positive relationship between employer and employee which will be an asset to maintaining loyalty and attracting future talent.
As government restrictions continue to ease, the flexible working approach will undoubtedly shift again as employers adapt and potentially adopt new flexible working policies. Employees should not rely on employers continuing with the measures adopted during the pandemic, but the traditional rigid procedures are likely to become a thing of the past.